26. Briefing Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Ingersoll) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rogers) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

The Quito MFM in Perspective

The aftermath of Quito looks to us like this:

1. U.S. Restrictions: With the 1964 OAS Resolution still in effect, the U.S. will begin to face some dilemmas arising out of our third country sanctions, especially those affecting trade with Cuba on foreign flag vessels, and trade by U.S. subsidiaries abroad. There will be increasing pressure on foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms in Venezuela and Colombia to sell to Cuba—perhaps pressure on the oil companies themselves. Panamanian flag vessels may move into the Cuban trade, mandating a cut-off of the largest per capita aid program in Latin America. Military assistance would also be suspended. These actions could conceivably impact adversely on the climate for the Canal Treaty negotiations. [Page 85] The fact that a majority of the OAS member states have voted in favor of lifting sanctions will make it increasingly difficult to maintain our own third-country legislative and administrative provisions precisely in their present form. We are examining some limited adjustments in those provisions which may help us avoid confrontation with the countries which will soon have normal relations with Cuba, and at the same time keep us in full compliance with the 1964 Rio Treaty measures.

There may well also be increased interest in visits by non-political Cuban intellectuals and artists to the U.S., and for expanded U.S. visaed travel to Cuba.

2. Future of the OAS Sanctions: It is difficult to say where the twelve proponents go from here with respect to the 1964 measures—perhaps nowhere. The sanctions could be quickly lifted of course without the theatrics of a Foreign Ministers’ meeting by the Council here in Washington if the necessary two-thirds vote were available for a finding that Cuba no longer constituted a threat to the peace and security of the hemisphere. If a two-thirds majority does not develop, then the longer-range solution is to amend the Rio Treaty to permit a majority vote. There was some talk in Quito that the question might be raised again in a few months, perhaps in conjunction with the OAS General Assembly now tentatively scheduled for mid-April here. It could also be before us for the Buenos Aires meeting in March. But for the moment there is nothing firm to suggest anything other than continued stalemate on the legal question for the next several months, with additional countries ignoring the sanctions by establishing relations with Cuba.

3. Effect on New Dialogue: The sense of frustration which the sponsors took home from Quito will have an effect on the general mood in the hemisphere. The proponents did their best to drum up sympathy in Latin America for their efforts. The countries lined up in what looked like blocs. National positions polarized and hardened. And commentators are already remarking that the Latin American democracies were all on one side.

But insofar as the Ministers themselves are concerned—perhaps Schacht to one side—it is hard to measure any immediate effect on the New Dialogue. We met in the closing hours of the meeting with Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela and a number of others. All were personally friendly; all looked forward to the MFM in Buenos Aires; all were ready to pursue their own bilateral interests with us. We would hope that the interim New Dialogue Working Group Meetings (on Science and Technology and on Transnational Enterprises) as well as the planning meetings, will move forward as anticipated, without additional difficulties.

[Page 86]

The problem of Cuba’s presence at the New Dialogue, and particularly in Buenos Aires, is more acute now than ever. Positions on Cuba hardened at Quito. It is overwhelmingly likely, according to Silveira, that Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, and perhaps some of the abstainers as well, would now have to oppose a Cuban presence at Buenos Aires, while those that have recognized Cuba, a group that will shortly include Venezuela and Colombia, may favor the Cuban presence.

Finally, our own neutral posture at Quito may raise similar expectations vis-à-vis our tactics at other inter-American meetings.

4. The Future of the Rio Treaty and of the OAS: The effect of Quito on the OAS itself will be lasting. The Rio Treaty as presently constituted is virtually dead insofar as application of sanctions is concerned. Pressure will be heavy to revive it in a more radical form than has thus far been negotiated in the OAS Special Committee. Pressure will also grow for some change of the OAS itself.

Panama and Peru were particularly emphatic about the need for change, and can be expected to come down hard on issues such as collective economic security in the Special Committee for restructuring the inter-American system which will resume its work later this month.

We will dispatch a cable to the field, along these lines.

  1. Summary: Ingersoll and Rogers reviewed the state of U.S. relations with Latin America in the wake of the inconclusive Quito meeting of Foreign Ministers.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850146–0796. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Rogers on November 14. In telegram 252031 to all American Republic diplomatic posts, November 15, the Department transmitted this analysis to the field and instructed posts to express the U.S. view on the Quito meeting in conversations with host government officials and local media representatives. (Ibid., D740334–0985, D740329–0675)